I approached this material a little differently. I told my students to get dirty! (See the pics below)

I started with showing them some charcoal sticks, ribbing them on my fingers to shows how easy it was to get messy, then smearing and smudging it on papers. Showed them how to make different lines: thick, thin, wide (using sides), etc… I then exaggerated the point about not touching their faces, hither clothes, their friends, and pretty much anything else other than their papers. I insisted they wear smocks.

As you can guess, through the giggles at my silly exaggerations, they did their best to not get all charcoaled up, but still failed a little. The Covid face masks were all black and so where their noses and cheeks. I chose to leave them that way and let them explain the fun of getting messy to their parents. Hey, we take our fun where we can as elementary teachers.

So, as usual, I started with showing them a video: “How to draw a flower…“, instructed them to either watch it all and then start, or just dive in. I encouraged them to start with the charcoal, instead of a pencil.

I went over the usual message about the benefits of making mistakes and got back their mantras of how they learn by making them and nothing needs to be perfect.

They had their usual questions about what they could or couldn’t draw and I always remain vague about what they can’t while encouraging them win a theme… in this case flowers. All that was left was to let them go and get messy! Oh, and believe me when I say I repeated that I wanted them to get messy!

Here are a few of their results… each students made many drawings!


2 thoughts on “My First Graders get into making Messy Charcoal Flowers

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